Stress And Your Health
Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous.
Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. In short bursts, stress can be positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline. But when stress lasts for a long time, it may harm your health.
Things You Should Know About Stress
Everyone feels stressed from time to time, but what is stress? How does it affect your overall health? And what can you do to manage your stress?
Stress is how the brain and body respond to any demand. Any type of challengesuch as performance at work or school, a significant life change, or a traumatic eventcan be stressful.
Stress can affect your health. It is important to pay attention to how you deal with minor and major stressors, so you know when to seek help.
Here are five things you should know about stress.
Youre Having Trouble Concentrating
When youre too overwhelmed to focus on whats in front of you, it could be a sign youre overworked. Research has connected long-term exposure to excess amounts of cortisol to shrinking of the hippocampus, the brains memory center, says Tuit. Studies have shown that long-term stress stimulates growth of the proteins that might cause Alzheimers disease.
What to do: If you find that youre experiencing this during the workday, taking a few long inhales and exhales can help. Deep, even breathing not only affects whether or not our thoughts control us or we control them. It also affects the bodily sensations that are experienced when faced with a high-stress situation, says Tuit. This type of breathing can help control the heart rate and blood flow, as well as muscle tension, she says.
Read Also: How To Avoid Stress During Pregnancy
What Are Sources Of Stress Common Causes Of Stress
Stress comes mainly from situations that cannot be avoided in life. include:
- Frustration: Cant get what you expect and need.
- Delay: A persons needs and desires are hindered or delayed.
- Daily trivia: things like missing things, what to eat every day, incomplete forms, weight problems.
- Failure: If the performance is not good, the competition is not as good as people, and the work efficiency is low.
- Lack of resources: such as being deprived of something you want.
- Discrimination: Such as gender, age, region, religion, and unequal treatment will make people feel stressed.
Talk Yourself Through It
Sometimes calling a friend is not an option. If this is the case, talking calmly to yourself can be the next best thing.
Dont worry about seeming crazy just tell yourself why youre stressed out, what you have to do to complete the task at hand, and most importantly, that everything will be okay.
Also Check: Is It Stress Or Depression
Different Types Of Stress
Everyone will experience some stress in their lifetime, but there are multiple different types of stress. Whether its physical, emotional, traumatic, acute, or chronic stress, they all can affect practically anyone in the world.
Physical stress is usually the result of someone participating in physical activities that end up in them, negatively affecting their body in some way. This can be anywhere from sports or fitness training to more subtle things. For instance, travelling can put your body under stress, since you most likely travel through different times zones, and your body isnt used to this.
In addition to that, physical stress may also come from your body either receiving too much or too little sleep. And it can also result in you putting your body under physical strain that its incapable of handling, like when you spend too long on your feet or work for long periods.
This type of stress typically occurs because of some kind of trauma that was done to your body. Traumatic stress may involve severe pain, or it can even include a coma. Regardless of the type of effect, it has on your body, traumatic stress is capable of drastically changing some physical aspect of your body. It can even possibly occur after youve undergone an operation or some type of surgery.
Remember To Seek Help And Support When You Need It
Remember, that it is okay to ask for professional help. If you feel that you are struggling to manage on your own, then you can reach out. It is important to know that you can get help as soon as possible, and that you deserve to get better.
The first person to approach is your family doctor. He or she should be able to give advice about treatment, and may refer you to another local professional. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness based approaches are known to help reduce stress. There are also a number of voluntary organisations which can help you to tackle the causes of stress and advise you about ways to get better.
Anxiety UK runs a helpline staffed by volunteers with personal experience of anxiety from 9:30-5:30, Monday to Friday. Call 08444 775 774.
Citizens Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice for a range of problems as well as providing information on your rights and responsibilities.
StepChange provides help and information for people dealing with a range of debt problems. Freephone 0800 138 1111.
Mind provides information on a range of mental health topics to support people in their own area from 9.00am to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday. Call 0300 123 3393 or email .
Rethink Advice and Information Service
Rethink provide specific solution-based guidance – 0300 5000927 Fax: 020 7820 1149 email .
Specialist mental health services
Don’t Miss: How To Lower Blood Pressure When Stressed
Effects Of Too Much Stress
“If constantly under stress, most of us will eventually start to function less well,” says Malaika Stoll, M.D., chief medical officer of SutterSelect. Multiple studies link chronic stress to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, depression, weight gain, memory loss and even premature death, so “it’s important to recognize the warning signals,” she says.
Talk to your doctor about ways to manage stress if youre experiencing any of these symptoms:
- Prolonged periods of poor sleep
- Regular, severe headaches
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Feelings of isolation, withdrawal or worthlessness
- Constant anger and irritability
- Loss of interest in activities
- Constant worrying or obsessive thinking
- Excessive alcohol or drug use
- Inability to concentrate
Tip : Connect To Others
There is nothing more calming than spending quality time with another human being who makes you feel safe and understood. In fact, face-to-face interaction triggers a cascade of hormones that counteracts the bodys defensive fight-or-flight response. Its natures natural stress reliever . So make it a point to connect regularlyand in personwith family and friends.
Keep in mind that the people you talk to dont have to be able to fix your stress. They simply need to be good listeners. And try not to let worries about looking weak or being a burden keep you from opening up. The people who care about you will be flattered by your trust. It will only strengthen your bond.
Of course, its not always realistic to have a pal close by to lean on when you feel overwhelmed by stress, but by building and maintaining a network of close friends you can improve your resiliency to lifes stressors.
Tips for building relationships
Don’t Miss: Will Stress Cause High Blood Sugar
Your Back Or Neck Is Always Aching
If youve got knots in your shoulders, a stiff neck or your lower back cramped up after a long day, it could be the constant of a job or personal situation, not just the position you sit in during the day. High levels of stress and tension create discomfort and muscle pain by tightening muscles and causing muscle spasms, says Dr. Colgan. And stiff muscles in your neck can also lead to headaches, he says.
If your back pain developed after an accident or emotional trauma, it could also be a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder . The National Institute of Health recommends talking to your primary doctor, as many people arent able to heal their back pain until they deal with the emotional stress thats causing it.
What to do: Many relaxation techniques can help with stress reduction, including guided imagery, taking deep breaths from the diaphragm, meditation, massages and yoga, says Tuit. Try devoting time for stretching breaks throughout the day to help prevent muscles from tightening up. Make time for some of these yoga poses to unwind at the end of the day.
Why Employers Ask This Interview Question
Interviewers ask how do you handle stress and pressure? because they want to know what to expect after they hire you. This is one of the most common interview questions youll hear.
Very few jobs go 100% according to plan, and they want to hire someone who can stay calm and think clearly to get through the situation. And ideally, they want someone whos been tested in the past and experienced some work-related stress before.
Don’t Miss: How To Deal With Stress While Pregnant
When To See Your Gp About Your Stress Levels
If you’ve tried self-help techniques and they aren’t working, you should go to see your GP. They may suggest other coping techniques for you to try or recommend some form of counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy.
If your stress is causing serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, you may need to take medication or further tests.
Smoking Drinking And Drug Use And Stress
You might find that you smoke, drink alcohol or use recreational drugs to reduce stress. However, this often makes problems worse.28
Research shows that smoking may increase feelings of anxiety.29 Nicotine creates an immediate, temporary, sense of relaxation, which can then lead to withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Similarly, you may use alcohol as a means to manage and cope with difficult feelings, and to temporarily reduce feelings of anxiety. However, alcohol may make existing mental health problems worse. It can make you feel more anxious and depressed in the long run.30 It is important to know the recommended limits31 and drink responsibly.
Prescription drugs, such as tranquillisers and sleeping tablets, which may have been prescribed for very good reasons, can also cause mental and physical health problems if used for long periods of time.32 Street drugs, such as cannabis or ecstasy, are usually taken for recreational purposes. For some people, problems start as their bodies get used to repeated use of the drug. This leads to the need for increased doses to maintain the same effect.33
Recommended Reading: How To Get Doctors Note For Stress Leave
How Can We Avoid Stress
Experiencing stress from time to time is normal, but it is important to prevent stress build up that leads to high levels of stress and possibly burnout. Some simple ways to avoid stress include finding effective ways to balance all your responsibilities, getting enough sleep, not taking on too much, eating a healthy diet, and taking part in physical activity.
The Importance Of Managing Stress
If youre living with high levels of stress, youre putting your entire well-being at risk. Stress wreaks havoc on your emotional equilibrium, as well as your physical health. It narrows your ability to think clearly, function effectively, and enjoy life. It may seem like theres nothing you can do about stress. The bills wont stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day, and your work and family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have a lot more control than you might think.
Effective stress management helps you break the hold stress has on your life, so you can be happier, healthier, and more productive. The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and funand the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on. But stress management is not one-size-fits-all. Thats why its important to experiment and find out what works best for you. The following stress management tips can help you do that.
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of Stress Induced Acne
How To Manage And Reduce Stress
Here, we would like to start, by giving you an introduction to what stress is, what the signs of stress are, what simple steps you can take when feeling stressed and provide practical advice for preventing it, to show why we are passionate about moving towards a less stressed nation.
Ways To Prevent Stress Buildup
There’s no avoiding the stress of everyday life. Schoolwork, responsibilities at home, busy schedules, other people’s expectations, disappointments, deadlines, social drama: all of these can create tension.
Everyday stressors have a way of piling up if we don’t keep them in check. Adding these 5 simple actions to your regular routine can help you avoid that “bogged down by stress” feeling. The key word is “routine.” You need to make sure you keep doing these to enjoy the benefits:
1. Balance responsibilities with activities you enjoy . It’s all about balance: all work and no play is bad. But if your schedule is so crammed with activities that there’s no time for homework, that’ll stress you out too.
2. Manage responsibilities. Use a calendar or planning app to keep track of assignments, chores, practices, and other obligations. Of course, planning is no good if you don’t actually do what you plan: Managing stress also means regular studying, keeping on top of assignments, and overcoming procrastination. Take time to reflect a bit every day and think about how things are going. What do you need to work on? Do? Make time for?
5. Make time to exercise every day. It’s hard to feel anxious when you’re taking deep breaths on a run, feeling the rush of a downhill bike ride, or playing a pickup game with friends. Exercise doesn’t just take our mind off of stress it releases chemicals in our brains that make us feel better.
Recommended Reading: Does Medicare Cover Stress Test
You Answered Yes To Question
If you answered No to Question 1, you most likely do not have PTSD. If you have concerns about anxiety, stress, depression, or other mental health issues, speak with a licensed professional.
Based on the answers you provided, it is unlikely you meet the criteria for PTSD. However, if you are struggling with the symptoms you are experiencing, you are encouraged to seek help from a qualified mental health professional.
Based on the answers you provided, it is possible you meet the criteria for PTSD. If you are struggling to cope with the symptoms you identified, you are encouraged to seek additional assessment from a qualified mental health professional.
Based on your answers, it is likely you meet the criteria for PTSD. If these are symptoms you have been experiencing for longer than 6 months you are strongly encouraged to seek assistance from a qualified mental health professional.
Some resources to find a licensed professional include:
Embrace The Adrenaline And Treat It As Positive
Fortunately, there is evidence that some level of stress is actually helpful, and can improve performanceprovided you believe that this is the case.
Elite athletes, for example, often believe that adrenaline, one of the main stress hormones, is helpful in improving performance. It is, after all, the flight or fight hormone, so you can harness it to help you to fight. Changing your mindset to embrace adrenaline can be a good start to changing how you view stress, especially if you have taken steps to reduce and avoid it more generally.
More on Stress Management:
Don’t Miss: How To Stop Stressing About Work
Not All Stress Is Bad
In a dangerous situation, stress signals the body to prepare to face a threat or flee to safety. In these situations, your pulse quickens, you breathe faster, your muscles tense, and your brain uses more oxygen and increases activityall functions aimed at survival and in response to stress. In non-life-threatening situations, stress can motivate people, such as when they need to take a test or interview for a new job.
Do You Have A Stress Fracture
- Dont wear worn out shoes.
- Pay attention when walking on uneven terrain.
- When engaging in any new sports activity, start slowly and gradually increase weekly.
- Cross-training is important. Instead of running every day, run and bike on alternating days.
- Maintain a healthy diet. A diet that includes foods rich in calcium and Vitamin D helps the body to recover.
Prince Albert, SK
Don’t Miss: Where Are Stress Migraines Located
Learn To Recognise The Signs That You Are Becoming Stressed
There are a wide range of possible signs and symptoms that may be associated with stress. These include headaches, stomach upsets and indigestion, and sleep problems. Many people also find they become very emotional and have trouble regulating their emotions.
Unfortunately, most of these signs are fairly non-specific: that is, they may be associated with many different illnesses and conditions. It can therefore be hard to identify when your symptoms are the result of stress. You should always consult a doctor if these symptoms last any length of time.
It is a good idea to learn to recognise the signs that you are becoming stressed, so that you can take action early on.
There is more about this in our page on What is Stress?